Chinese Governments Have Made Significant Progress in the Development and Utilization of Agricultural Renewable Energy

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Chinese governments at all levels have continuously devoted significant manpower, material resources, and financial resources to the research, application, promotion, and popularization of technology for developing and utilizing agricultural renewable energy. After ten years of such government efforts, more rural areas in China have changed their traditional lifestyle and energy structures, while the quality of ecological environments in such regions has also gradually improved.

First, in terms of the development and integrated utilization of agricultural renewable energy and its engineering construction, according to the data provided in Statistical Information of China Agriculture (2001), in 2001, the total amount of capital invested in China for rural energy construction was 703,000,000 yuan, of which 523,000,000 yuan was directly funded by the government through its annual budget and construction loans totalled 180,000,000 yuan. By the end of 2001, in total there were 9,567,900 marsh gas ponds for rural families constructed all over China, with a total output of marsh gas of 2,982,000,000 m3. Also 1359 large- or medium-scale marsh gas projects had commenced operations, with a total cellar capacity of approximately 639,200 m3. Waste treatment capability measured approximately 34,039,000 tonnes and the annual output of marsh gas was approximately 169,000,000 m3, and the capability existed to supply such gas to approximately 163,600 families. Furthermore, 1171 of the marsh gas projects that were initiated were for the treatment of agricultural

56 People's Government of Chengdu, Methods on Prohibition of Straw Burning of Chengdu, February 27,

2001, Art. 9, Great Collections of China Laws and Regulations (Local Collections).

57 People's Government of Jinan, Notification on Prohibition of Straw Burning, September 29, 1999, Arts.

3 and 5, Great Collections of China Laws and Regulations (Local Collections).

wastes, with a total cellar capacity of approximately 319,400 m3, waste treatment capability of approximately 14,006,000 tonnes, annual output of marsh gas at approximately 35,511,000 tonnes and gas supply capability for approximately 53,800 families. Also seeds soaked with marsh liquid covered 73,100 ha; pigs fed with marsh liquid totalled 10,030,000 herds; fish fed with marsh liquid covered 53,400 ha; mushrooms planted with marsh residues totalled 24,300 tonnes; and crops stocked through marsh gas totalled 73,100 tonnes. Altogether, 189,000,000 firewood stoves were promoted at provincial levels and 20,077,900 firewood kangs were constructed. The annual gross of marsh gas produced all over China equalled approximately 3,200,000 tonnes of standard coal produced during the same period of time.58

Second, in terms of the prevention of agricultural pollution and control of agricultural ecological environments, China's construction of agricultural renewable energy projects also plays a significant role and has made a favorable contribution. In connection with the role of rural renewable energy construction, in 2000, the annual output of marsh gas was 2,712,000,000 m3. This means that 52,500,000 tonnes of alternative energy like firewood and straws were saved, the amount of carbon dioxide discharged into the atmosphere was reduced by 75,520,000 tonnes, of which 4,885,700 tonnes was due to the use of marsh gas, while a further 50,617,000 tonnes resulted from alternative energy saving.59 Furthermore, thanks to local enforcement of the Methods on Straw Burning and Integrated Utilization and Methods on Prevention of Pollution Caused by Animal Husbandry, as well as improvement in the integrated utilization of agricultural wastes like straws and animal excrement, environmental degradation has gradually been controlled. This includes reductions in atmospheric pollution, aquatic environment pollution, damage to vegetation, and soil erosion caused by the random felling of trees.

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